Our Privacy Notice
This Privacy Notice explains, in detail, the types of personal data we may collect about you when you interact with us. It also explains how we’ll store and handle that data and keep it safe. We know that there’s a lot of information here, but we want you to be fully informed about your rights, and how the M&K Solicitors Ltd uses your data. We hope the following sections will answer any questions you have but if not, please do get in touch with us.
Conditions for Processing Data
We are only entitled to hold and process your data where the law allows us to. The current law on data protection sets out a number of different reasons for which a law firm may collect and process your personal data. These include:
The main purpose for our holding your data is to provide you with legal services under the agreement we have with you. This agreement is a contract between us and the law allows us to process your data for the purposes of performing a contract (or for the steps necessary to enter in to a contract). We may also need to process your data to meet our contractual obligations to the Legal Aid Agency where you receive legal aid to fund your case or advice.
In specific situations, we require your data to pursue our legitimate interests in a way which might reasonably be expected as part of running our business and which does not materially impact your rights, freedom or interests. This may include to satisfy our external quality auditors or our Regulators.
If the law requires us to, we may need to collect and process your data. For example, we can pass on details of people involved in fraud or other criminal activity.
In some situations, we can collect and process your data with your consent. For example, when you tick a box to receive email newsletters. When collecting your personal data, we’ll always make clear to you which data is necessary in connection with a particular service.
When do we collect your data?
We normally collect your data when you provide it to us or when it is provided to us by others (your opponent’s solicitors for example) during your case. You may give us your data by email; through an online web form; over the telephone; face to face; or by post.
What sort of data do we collect?
We collect your name and contact details. This may include asking for and keeping a copy of your passport / driving licence and proof of address. We may gather details of your age; ethnicity; gender etc. if required to do so by the Legal Aid Agency where you are in receipt of Legal Aid. Where you have Legal Aid, we may also gather financial information from you. We also collect and hold information about your case or legal problem.
How do we use your data?
We only use your data for the purposes of providing you with legal advice, assistance and where appropriate, representation and for reasons directly associated with those services (i.e. providing information to quality auditors; the Legal Aid Agency etc.). We may use your data to notify you of our other services but only where we have your consent to do so.
How do we protect your data?
We take protecting your data very seriously. The data you give us may be subject to Legal Professional Privilege and is often extremely sensitive and confidential. With this in mind we will treat your data with the utmost care and take all appropriate steps to protect it. We have clear data protection and information security policies and procedures in place (along with Regulatory and other legal obligations to keep your data safe) and these are regularly assessed as part of our Quality Standards and compliance processes. We protect our IT system from Cyber Attack. We regularly monitor our system for possible vulnerabilities and attacks, and we carry out penetration testing to identify ways to further strengthen security.
How long will we keep your data?
We only keep your data for as long as is necessary for the purpose(s) for which it was provided. Normally this is for 6 years after your case or matter ends with the exception of a small amount of personal data which we shall retain indefinitely so as to comply with our regulatory obligations, such as the conduct of conflict checks. This is because we are required to keep client files for that period by our Regulator and / or by the SRA. This also protects you should you be unhappy with our services and want to complain or even sue us after your case ends. For some cases we may decide that it is proper and appropriate to keep data for longer than 6 years, but we will notify you if we believe that your case falls into this category. In addition, we will retain a minimal amount of your personal data indefinitely, to enable us to comply with our regulatory obligations for conflict checks.
Who do we share your personal data with?
We sometimes share your personal data with trusted third parties. We only do this where it is necessary for providing you legal services or for the effective operation of our legal practice. For example, we may share your data with barristers; experts; translators; costs draftsmen; process servers; secure file storage and destruction companies; auditors; the company that securely hosts our off-site cloud storage servers. Here’s the policy we apply to those organisations to keep your data safe and protect your privacy:
- We provide only the information they need to perform their specific services.
- They may only use your data for the exact purposes we specify in our contract with them.
- We work closely with them to ensure that your privacy is respected and protected at all times.
- If we stop using their services, any of your data held by them will either be deleted or rendered anonymous